Dies ist eine HTML Version eines Anhanges der Informationsfreiheitsanfrage 'Communications with Member States on the Open Internet Regulation implementation'.



 
Ref. Ares(2019)2743373 - 23/04/2019
EUROPEAN COMMISSION 
DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS, CONTENT AND 
TECHNOLOGY 
 
  The Director-General 
 
Brussels, 23rd April 2019 
CONNECT/R4 
Ms Kirsten Fiedler 
European Digital Rights 
Rue Belliard 12 
1040 Brussels 
Belgium 
 
Advanced copy: 
[FOI #6397 email] 
 
REGISTERED LETTER WITH ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT 
 
Subject: 
Your application for access to documents – GestDem 2019/0866 
 
Dear Ms Fiedler, 
We refer to your e-mail dated 14/02/2019 in which you make a request for access to 
documents, registered on the same day under the above-mentioned reference number. We 
also refer to our email dated 05/03/2019, our reference Ares(2019)1493885, whereby we 
informed you that the time limit for handling your application was extended by 15 
working days pursuant to Article 7(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 on public access 
to documents (hereinafter ‘Regulation 1049/2001’). 
1.  SCOPE OF YOUR APPLICATION 
In your application, you requested: 
“- all communication sent to and received from Members States and their National 
Regulatory Authorities to prepare the implementation report of the Regulation (EU) 
2015/2120 (Open Internet Regulation) which is due on 30 April 2019 

- all communication sent to and received from Member States and National Regulatory 
Authorities to follow upon annual reporting obligations under the Regulation (EU) 
2015/2120 (Open Internet Regulation).” 

 2.  EXPLANATIONS ABOUT THE CONTEXT 
As of principle, the national regulatory authorities provide their reports to the Body of 
European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). BEREC then sends the 
country reports to the European Commission for publication on the following website: 
 
 
Commission européenne/Europese Commissie, 1049 Bruxelles/Brussel, BELGIQUE/BELGIË - Tel. +32 22991111 

 
https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/annual-country-reports-open-internet-
national-regulators 

BEREC also published an Opinion on the evaluation of the application of the Open 
Internet Regulation, which can be accessed through the following link:  
https://berec.europa.eu/eng/document_register/subject_matter/berec/opinions/8317berec-
opinion-for-the-evaluation-of-the-application-of-regulation-eu-20152120-and-theberec-
net-neutrality-guidelines 

Please note that these documents were made available to the Commission by BEREC. 
They are disclosed for information only. They do not reflect the position of the 
Commission and cannot be quoted as such. 
Follow-up discussions concerning ongoing investigations/proceedings take place in the 
framework of BEREC Open Internet Expert Working Group. Therefore, we would kindly 
invite you to contact BEREC for any further information: 
https://berec.europa.eu/eng/document_register/request_a_document/ 
3. DOCUMENTS FALLING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE REQUEST 
Nevertheless, we have identified 82 documents, which are email exchanges between 
national regulatory authorities and an external contractor in the context of the preparation 
of a study report on the implementation of the Open Internet Regulation. The contractor 
wrote one chapter on each country and shared them with each national regulatory 
authority, asking them to check the facts. The European Commission was in copy of 
these email exchanges. 
4. ASSESSMENT UNDER REGULATION 1049/2001 
(i) Protection of the ongoing decision-making process 
The first subparagraph of Article 4(3) of Regulation 1049/2001 provides that ‘access to a 
document, drawn up by an institution for internal use or received by an institution, which 
relates to a matter where the decision has not been taken by the institution, shall be 
refused if disclosure of the document would seriously undermine the institutions' 
decision-making process, unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure’. 
The identified emails were sent and received in the context of the preparatory work for a 
study, which is not finalised yet but is supposed to be published by the end of the month. 
They relate to a matter where a decision has not been taken, pursuant to the first 
subparagraph of Article 4(3). 
 
The study falls within the purely administrative functions of the Commission. 
Consequently, the interest of the public in obtaining access to a document pursuant to the 
principle of transparency, does not carry the same weight in the case of a document 
drawn up in an administrative procedure intended to establish an informative document, 
as in the case of a document relating to a procedure in which the Community institution 
acts in its capacity as legislator1. 
                                                 
1 For a similar case, see Judgment  of  the  Court  of  first  Instance  of 9  September  2008  in  case  T-
403/05, MyTravel  v Commission, para. 49 


 
Disclosing parts of the non-finalised study could be misleading for the public, since the 
current conclusions of the study are not definitive. 
Furthermore, disclosing the study before the publication of implementation report of the 
Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 (Open Internet Regulation) and so close to the due date, 
which is 30 April 2019, would have the effect of sending out confusing information. The 
content of the study could be perceived as reflecting the official position of the European 
Commission on the implementation of the Open Internet Directive, even though the 
Commission will express its position only in the implementation report due on 30 April 
2019. 
(ii) Protection of the privacy and integrity of the individual 
Pursuant to Article 4(1)(b) of Regulation 1049/2001, access to a document has to be 
refused if its disclosure would undermine ‘the protection of privacy and the integrity of 
the individual, in particular in accordance with European Union legislation regarding the 
protection of personal data’.   
The applicable EU legislation in this field is Regulation (EC) No 2018/1725 of the 
European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural 
persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, 
offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation 
(EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC  (‘Regulation 2018/1725’).  
Parts of the identified documents contain personal data (names, contact details and 
comments) of Commission staff and third parties. 
Article 3(1) of Regulation 2018/1725 provides that personal data ‘means any information 
relating to an identified or identifiable natural person […]’. The Court of Justice has 
specified that any information, which by reason of its content, purpose or effect, is linked 
to a particular person is to be considered as personal data2.  
In its judgment in Case C-28/08 P (Bavarian Lager), the Court of Justice ruled that when 
a request is made for access to documents containing personal data, Regulation 
2018/1725 becomes fully applicable. 
Pursuant to Article 9(1)(b) of Regulation 2018/1725, personal data shall only be 
transmitted to recipients established in the Union other than Union institutions and bodies 
if  ‘[t]he recipient establishes that it is necessary to have the data transmitted for a 
specific purpose in the public interest and the controller, where there is any reason to 
assume that the data subject’s legitimate interests might be prejudiced, establishes that it 
is proportionate to transmit the personal data for that specific purpose after having 
demonstrably weighed the various competing interests’. 
Only if these conditions are fulfilled and the processing constitutes lawful processing in 
accordance with the requirements of Article 5 of Regulation 2018/1725, can the 
transmission of personal data occur.  
According to Article 9(1)(b) of Regulation 2018/1725, the European Commission has to 
examine the further conditions for a lawful processing of personal data only if the first 
                                                 
2 Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 20 December 2017 in Case C-434/16, Peter 
Nowak v Data Protection Commissioner, request for a preliminary ruling, paragraphs 33-35 



 
condition is fulfilled, namely if the recipient has established that it is necessary to have 
the data transmitted for a specific purpose in the public interest. 
In your request, you explicitly mention that you request access to anonymised 
information. Therefore, the European Commission does not have to examine whether 
there is a reason to assume that the data subject’s legitimate interests might be 
prejudiced.  

We have considered whether partial access could be granted to the documents requested. 
However, the remaining parts of the emails after having expunged the confidential 
information would be meaningless. 
5. OVERRIDING PUBLIC INTEREST IN DISCLOSURE 
The exception laid down in the first subparagraph of Article 4(3) Regulation 1049/2001 
apply, unless there is an overriding public interest in the disclosure of the documents. 
Such an interest must, firstly, be a public interest and, secondly, outweigh the harm 
caused by disclosure. 
Insofar as the study is expected to be published soon, we have not been able to identify 
such an overriding public interest in disclosing the identified documents at this stage. 
6. POSSIBILITY OF CONFIRMATORY APPLICATION   
In accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, you are entitled to make a 
confirmatory application requesting the Commission to review the above positions.  
Such a confirmatory application should be addressed within 15 working days upon 
receipt of this letter to the Secretary-General of the Commission at the following address:  
European Commission 
Secretary-General 
Transparency, Document Management & Access to Documents (SG.C.1)  
BERL 7/076 
B-1049 Bruxelles 
 
or by email to: [DG CNECT request email] 
 
Yours sincerely, 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(e-signed) 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Roberto Viola 

Electronically signed on 16/04/2019 16:07 (UTC+02) in accordance with article 4.2 (Validity of electronic documents) of Commission Decision 2004/563